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GiantRoboJustin

C56 with backwards axle bearing

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GiantRoboJustin
Posted (edited)

My Kato C56 came with one of the center axle/wheel bearings installed backwards. there's a little lip on one side that's supposed to slide into a slot in the frame like all the others, but it's flipped, so the lip is sandwiched between the frame and the wheel, limiting the axles side-play, causing it to rub when going around left hand (R249) curves. the bearing also has quite a lot of play to move around, so I assume is not making good electrical contact , and it being one of only two axles on the loco that pick up power other than the wheels on the tender, might explain some of the stalling issues I've been having with it. I'm not so sure I want to tackle this job myself since it would require removal and re-quartering of the wheels (both of which I don't have tools...and maybe not the skill for)

 

So I guess my question is, would this be worth sending it in to a shop or Kato USA? It's a Japanese model, but shouldn't need any new parts to fix. Just proper tools and some skill. Or should I get the tools and try myself? Any feedback would be helpful, especially if anyone's run into this same problem, or done this kind of repair themselves, thanks!

 

Update: upon closer inspection, it appears that the axles are hex shaped rather than cylindrical, so the wheels may only be able to go on one of six ways? It would be awesome if this was the case, because it looks like quartering tools for n scale are pretty rare. So it would just be  a matter of dealing with the connecting rods and getting the wheels off. I'm guessing I'd still need a wheel puller/press for this...

 

 

Edited by GiantRoboJustin

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Ochanomizu

Hello,

 

Who did you purchase the product from?

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GiantRoboJustin

Hobbysearch, back in mid December

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Ochanomizu

Hello,

 

I suggest you take a photo of the problem and email HS.  They are pretty good with repairs.  I don't like to mess around with SL wheel sets.

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GiantRoboJustin

Thanks, I'll try to contact them this week

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GiantRoboJustin

Man this week has been super busy, but I finally managed to send an email and pic to HS, now to play the waiting game...

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GiantRoboJustin

Actually...how long does it usually take for them to reply? (Hoping that I sent the email to the right address...)

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katoftw

Normally I get a response within 24 hours of their working days.

 

Use the same email they use to send out order updates and shipping updates, support @ I think it is.

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GiantRoboJustin
Posted (edited)

I sent it to hs-support@1999.co.jp. I hope my e-mail didn't block/delete it as junk or something, though I've never had trouble receiving stuff from them before (except the HS news ends up in my spam folder every now and then)

 

Though it does mention on the site that if a reply isn't received within a few days to try re-sending the original inquiry, so I might try re-sending it (this time on a work day)

Edited by GiantRoboJustin

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Kiha66
Posted (edited)

Good luck, sounds like if it is a reversed bearing they should take care of it.  Did you happen to get a picture of whats wrong?  I'm just curious to see what happened.

Edited by Kiha66

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GiantRoboJustin

thanks! Just re-sent the email, though I think the first one might have had something wrong with the address, so I copied and pasted this time...and crossed my fingers, lol

 

Here's a pic, the suspect bearing is in the top middle

IMG_2119 close up.jpg

  • Confused 2

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Kiha66

Wow, kato really messed up there!  Hope you hear from hobbysearch soon, thats no good.

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Kamome

Can Kato not assist? It might be quicker. You might find Hobbysearch will drag their feet until they’ve had an official answer from Kato.

 

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Martijn Meerts

Not sure it's flipped or just not installed in the slot properly. My gut feeling is that it's not slotted properly, since if it were flipped, there'd likely be more occasions of it happening. Since I've been working on replacing the wheels on the Kato GS4 recently, which has the same type of bearings, I noticed that it's quite easy to install an axle with the bearings outside the slots

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Kiha66

I'd say thats pretty clearly flipped, you can see the flat edges are on the inside and the ring which should fit in the slot is on the outside.  Amazing kato didnt catch it.

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Martijn Meerts

Actually, the 'ring that's on the outside' of the bearing is a spacer to prevent the wheels from hitting the frame. All the wheels have this ring, it's just more obvious on the bearing that's not seated properly.

 

If it truly is flipped, I think more locomotives would have this issue. The bearings and wheels aren't mounted on the wheels manually, and the wheels are reused on multiple locomotives. It would seem a bit odd if only 1 bearing would be flipped. Of course, if it really is only a single bearing in an entire production run that's flipped in a production run, it's easy to see why Kato didn't catch it.

 

Another option is that the bearing is installed properly, but it's a faulty bearing. The 5 others have a notch on the inside which slots into the opening, while the problematic bearing doesn't appear to have that notch

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Kiha66

Normal bearing location, see the ring fits in the slot in the frame.  5/6 on this loco are like this and this is how I've seen kato do it on every other locomotive I have from them.
991920825_Normalbearing.thumb.png.807f4163c8a23b8ac602257c4e8d2d5d.png

 

Reversed bearing, see the slot is empty and the bearing is pressed against the wheel.  Only 1 of the bearings is like this and I've never seen kato install them like this before.
1190884123_Reversedbearing.thumb.png.9c7352fa6d45b977dfc1e0b63edf9328.png

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GiantRoboJustin

Thanks for all the replies! Yeah, it's definitely flipped. I wasn't sure if it was wrong at first, like maybe it was supposed to be like that to give clearance for the drive gears or something, but then I found a Japanese how-to site on fitting DCC and saw theirs had all the bearings slotted in the correct way. I was also pretty surprised but then again everyone makes mistakes every once in a while (or quite often if they're like me, lol) Anyways, I'll give Hobbysearch a couple more days to respond and then try Kato. But would I need to contact Kato Japan, or USA? Has anyone had Kato USA work on their Japanese models? I think I read somewhere on their site once that they can do it, but it may take longer/cost more to source parts or something. Though lucky for me all the parts are already there, lol

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Martijn Meerts

I've seen all sorts of weird things going on with these type of Kato bearings, but this has to be the first time I've actually seen one that's flipped. I've had a very similar looking problem when I was installed the replacement wheels in the GS4, it was actually possible to install them with the bearing outside the frame, and after installed it looked pretty much exactly like this issue.

 

It does seem Kato has some issues with steam locomotives though. The Mikado had it's issues way back, then the GS4 with the cracking axles, then the replacement axles not fitting correctly in the frame of the 1st run locomotives, and now the replacement axles not being straight. The FEF-3 is also reported to have several issues, also mostly related to the wheels. I also came across a site about the GS4 replacement wheels, it seems they're all slightly out of gauge, slightly narrower than the standard. The guy had checked 5 different sets of replacement wheels, and had to re-gauge them all.

 

As for service, Kato US probably won't have the wheels in stock, but I've found them generally fairly helpful, so I'd probably check with them first. They might be able to get a set of wheels from Kato Japan and send them over. 

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cteno4

Katousa is really spotty in doing any parts for Japanese trains, even ones they bring over for us sales. Sometimes they will order them sometimes they have just said no. Lately they want the parts sheet faxed to them with the part clearly circled (guess there have been mixups on which part or number wrong). The couple of times I was able to get parts it took about 2-3 months and I paid like $6 for the part and $8 or 9 for the shipping in a small padded envelope. Some have had a little luck at times ringing them up. 

 

I would keep the pressure sure on HS, they seem to drag their feet a little but once it’s clear they sent a bum train they usually make it good.

 

jeff

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GiantRoboJustin

Thanks, hopefully my email will reach them and I can get at least some sort of reply before too long. In the mean time, at least my D51 has been issue free so far. In fact, it's probably the best running model I've ever had. Though hearing about some of those issues with the GS4 makes me worry a bit, lol So...what about Tomix steam locos? I actually avoided that brand for a while because I've had a lot of issues with the can motors in their diesels and electrics the past, but am now curious to see how their steam locomotives compare...

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GiantRoboJustin

Actually, I just thought of something...should I be sending them the email from my personal email, or use that inquiry thing they have on the site, or does it make any difference?

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katoftw

I use the email that my account is attached to.  I sent them an email on Monday about an order that has been 8 weeks since shipment date.  They replied Wednesday.

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Kiha66

Dont forget due to the new Emperor the golden week is happening soon and will be particularly long, so they may not be in to reply to emails till after the new calendar starts.

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Martijn Meerts
5 hours ago, GiantRoboJustin said:

Thanks, hopefully my email will reach them and I can get at least some sort of reply before too long. In the mean time, at least my D51 has been issue free so far. In fact, it's probably the best running model I've ever had. Though hearing about some of those issues with the GS4 makes me worry a bit, lol So...what about Tomix steam locos? I actually avoided that brand for a while because I've had a lot of issues with the can motors in their diesels and electrics the past, but am now curious to see how their steam locomotives compare...

 

Hobby Search tends to only have 1 person working on their customer service that speaks English, and from what I've heard in the past, that's usually an intern and only there a couple of days in the week. It might have improved recently though.

 

As for Kato's steamers, I mainly hear issues with their American steamers, but it also seems very hit and miss. Some claim the GS4 is the worst steam locomotive they have, while others say it runs just fine. Same goes with the FEF-3, some say it's fine, others say it derails everywhere. My personal experience with the GS4 isn't great, but I do hope to fix it to an acceptable state at least, just a bit annoying that from the total of 8 (2 sets) replacement wheels I've ordered, it seems 5 aren't really up to decent quality standards. I'm probably going to try to mix and match wheels from the 2 sets and see if I can get it running acceptably at least.

 

Tomix steam locos run great, but here also I've had issues. I had one that had a cracked coupler between loco and tender, which luckily was easy to to fix with a little bit of epoxy.

 

All in all, steam locomotives in N-scale can still be tricky, I have great running locomotives from various brands (Kato, Tomix, MicroAce, Minitrix, Fleischmann, Arnold, etc.), but I also have a couple that are so bad, that even sending it back to the factory (twice) didn't get them fixed.

 

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